Speaker Johnson Must Return People’s House to Needs of the People

COMMENTARY Conservatism

Speaker Johnson Must Return People’s House to Needs of the People

Nov 6, 2023 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Kevin D. Roberts, PhD

President

Heritage Trustee since 2023
Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks in the House chamber after his election at the U.S. Capitol on October 25, 2023 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

A divided government and a polarized electorate demand that any speaker must both communicate effectively and remain principled.

Johnson must work to craft commonsense policies that reduce government spending, boost economic growth and job creation and give financial stability.

The Heritage Foundation is committed to working with Speaker Johnson and our congressional allies to secure conservative wins for the American people.

America faces a border crisis with devastating consequences for Americans’ safety and security, a war in Europe and the Middle East, a floundering economy and an incompetent administration with a senile executive. Now more than any time in recent memory, Congress needs strong leadership.

More specifically, the People’s House needs a conservative leader who recognizes the urgency of the moment and is ready to take action. Louisiana Republican Rep. Mike Johnson is just the right person for the job. 

For too long, the D.C. swamp’s inhabitants have been either unwilling or unable to step up and do what is necessary to deliver results for the American people. But their failures only underscore the historic opportunity for the new speaker of the House. 

Of course, a divided government and a polarized electorate demand that any speaker must both communicate effectively and remain principled to advance a conservative agenda. And yet our current circumstances also make it clear that Speaker Johnson must hold fast to the promises conservatives made in securing the majority, and never, ever, accept Washington's status quo. 

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To start, Johnson must lead House Republicans in providing the necessary and immediate support to our ally Israel in its existential battle against Hamas. While President Joe Biden and the Senate use support for Israel as a pawn to secure more funding for Ukraine and other domestic programs, House Republicans must make clear that this is no time for games. 

Next on the agenda must be confronting Biden’s devastating border crisis. 

To do so, it is imperative that he commits to making border security the priority policy issue, deliberated and decided apart from other controversial funding debates, most notably Ukraine. National sovereignty and the safety of American citizens should never be held ransom for other ends. The American people are not foolish. Our border security is non-negotiable. 

With the House passage of H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, Johnson is already well positioned to press the Biden administration for wholesale changes to its open-borders approach.  

Throwing money at a failing system—as Biden requested—will make the problem worse by funding the status quo. That’s why the concrete policy changes contained in H.R. 2 are necessary to pass. 

Additionally, he must address the economic hardships endured by everyday Americans. Biden’s reckless spending, too often aided by some Republicans, has led to the worst inflation in 40 years.

As a result, the typical American family, which is already struggling to make ends meet, is losing $7,300 per year under Biden. Tack on an 8% mortgage rate (which amounts to paying more than $1,000 per month extra) and homeownership is out of reach for millions of Americans.  

To restore America’s economic life, Johnson must work to craft commonsense policies that reduce government spending, boost economic growth and job creation and give financial stability to American families. The continuing resolution expiring Nov. 17 provides the perfect opportunity for conservatives to press for changes to business as usual. 

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Finally, Johnson must treat the weaponization of government agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Justice and IRS, as the grave threat to our republic that it is. 

If the House doesn’t act, no one in Washington will. Because of their ability to conduct oversight hearings, investigate wrongdoing and subpoena witnesses, the spotlight is on members of the House to deliver. That starts with the speaker making the fundamental principles of fairness, objectivity, transparency, and accountability a central priority. 

Tackling these issues won’t be a cakewalk. The pursuit of these goals will require the full array of tools at the speaker’s disposal: Instructing members to use the appropriations process to make funding decisions, refusing to kowtow to the Senate by taking a harder line with assertive negotiations and empowering committee chairmen to provide critical oversight of the unelected bureaucracy. 

But it's not impossible. The Heritage Foundation is committed to working with Speaker Johnson and our congressional allies to secure conservative wins for the American people. With an unwavering commitment and unifying leadership, congressional Republicans can restore American leadership abroad and deliver for the American people at home. 

This piece originally appeared in Fox News

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